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Reader feedback 11.12.03 

'PC City'

It was interesting and somewhat paradoxical to read consecutive paragraphs about "People in Black" and "Guys Fight Violence" (Metro Ink, October 22).

            The biggest perpetrators of "misogynist violence" in the world are the Islamic countries: Sudan, which enslaves millions, literally; Nigeria, which reluctantly bowed to world opinion and agreed not to stone a woman to death for "adultery"; the Palestinians, who expose young children to a continuous barrage of propaganda encouraging them to be homicide bombers; Sierra Leone, where thousands of children of both sexes have their limbs chopped off; the Afghani Taliban; and the late Iraqi regime, which poison-gassed Kurdish families.

            In addition to what is happening in these Muslim or largely Muslim countries, young girls and women are being sold into sexual slavery and smuggled across borders in Eastern Europe. UN workers are reported to patronize various brothels in large numbers. Maybe they should read the UNICEF brochure you quoted.

            All these Muslim (and Eastern European) countries seem to be generally immune from criticism by your publication. I guess it's politically incorrect to suggest that followers of Islam, for example, might possibly treat women badly.

            Alan L. Glaser, Rochester

            Jack BradiganSpula responds: It's hard to track Glaser's leap from two items about peace and justice to a broadside attack on a major religion (and the UN). He must know that sexual slavery, stoning, and punitive mutilation antedate Islam as well as its principal antecedents, Judaism and Christianity. He must know, too, that all three traditions have promoted misogyny and/or condemned it, depending on circumstances, and also have co-existed with prostitution --- beginning long before UN workers allegedly increased the customer base!

            Glaser tips his hand with an odd attack on the Palestinians. He wields a broad brush against a whole culture, and he refers to practices that, though awful and indefensible, aren't strictly forms of misogynist violence. He also ignores the even greater violence Palestinians endure under occupation; the elision mirrors what he doesn't say about US complicity in Saddam's crimes against the Kurds. Similarly, Glaser ignores crucial facts about Sierra Leone --- including the decisive role played there by former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, nominally a Baptist in a largely Christian nation.

Hope, dashed

I had such hope for MonroeCounty before last Tuesday. I thought for sure this time the forces of racism, small-mindedness, and self-interest would finally lose out to a real vision and real community interest. What an opportunity we had to move forward with new ideas for our whole community that would benefit everyone and not just the select few.

            Instead, citizens once again voted for the right to seclude themselves far from the problems they caused in the first place by fleeing any responsibility to the larger community.

            To anyone passing through, MonroeCounty looks like a lovely place to live, but if one stays for any length of time, one begins to realize that selfish and mean-spirited behavior pretty much prevail. How sad for all of us.

            Disappointed in Monroe County,

            Sheridan L. Wilson, Bond Street, Rochester

Find solutions

I was appalled at the Maggie Brooks' "Pac-Man" TV commercial that asked of Bill Johnson, "Does he want all our schools to perform like city schools?"

            It is mind-boggling that someone running for elected office at the county level would so blatantly disparage the schools --- and by extension, the students, parents, employees, and neighbors of those schools --- of an area that makes up one-third of her jurisdiction. It's as if Brooks believes the city isn't part of the county.

            There is no denying that Rochester schools have far to go in improving student performance. There are also, however, many dedicated people working in those schools to make them successful, and many awe-inspiring students who, like their suburban counterparts, go on to some of the top colleges in the nation.

            Brooks' approach to this issue seems to be no approach at all: "Let's keep away from those city schools!" Well, guess what? City students are as much the future of our county's workforce, consumer base, and citizenry as suburban students.

            Rather than taking an "us or them" attitude, we should work to ensure that all MonroeCounty children receive a high-quality education in their own neighborhoods. That means finding solutions to, rather than avoiding, a problem that confronts us all.

            Tom Petronio, John Jay Drive, Rochester

Stopping the music

Many thanks should go to the management of WRUR for having the good sense to bring the Sunday jazz programming back; the deletion of the jazz staff's shows over the summer to make room for syndicated programs was a mistake. Most of the "upwardly mobile" demographic that NPR programming targets can afford a computer with a broadband internet connection and should have had no problem getting their fix of "Whad'Ya Know!" via streaming audio.

            One irritating WXXI-related issue still does remain, though: There is apparently an automated relay arrangement between WXXI and WRUR which periodically interrupts WRUR programming and inserts the WXXI-AM signal, presumably for hourly NPR news. Trouble is, this relay is shoddily managed, and even interrupts the programming when news isn't being broadcast on the hour.

            A particularly embarrassing incident resulted this previous Sunday, October 26. The Rev. John Walker (akaTalik Abdul-Bashir) was in the midst of his weekly broadcast of "Black Classical Music" when his show was pre-empted by Harry Shearer's "Le Show," in the midst of a very Bob & Ray sounding skit. This was followed by a short burst of ("non-black"?) classical music, and then dead air.

            Rev. Walker opened the microphone, expressing consternation at the demons who had apparently taken control of the radio station. He then dropped the needle on another record and continued his show until the midnight hour, when the programming once again was interrupted by the relay. After the relay switch returned control back to WRUR, the station signal shut off altogether, leaving nothing but static; we can only assume that Rev. Walker left the radio station in disgust.

            Indeed, one should ask what sort of demons WRUR has been inflicted with. The management of both radio stations (if there are still two separate managing bodies) should fix this issue, or WRUR should perform an exorcism. (Rev. Walker: Keep the faith; at least one of your listeners is pulling for you!)

            Dave Duncan, Valley Brook Drive, Fairport

The sound of pipes

I wonder in what context Christopher Seaman made his remark about electronic organs being better than pipe organs ("Super Pipes," John Brostrup, The Mail, October 29). Was it the Saturday that organist Matt Curlee soloed with the RPO in Barber and Saint-Saens? See, that's not fair, because Matt Curlee can make anything sound good.

            What invites concern, though, is that such talk puts the Maestro directly at odds with the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative, which has every intention of eventually getting a good, large, intelligently-placed pipe organ into the Eastman Theatre.

            I am blessed to play, weekly, a beautifully designed, versatile pipe organ which is entering its 35th year in the prime of life. Yes, it gets tuned three times annually. But by the age of 35 an electronic would either have blown up or been rendered obsolete by design advances.

            Does that mean electronics are better than ever? Yes. But they just don't have the presence --- particularly in a large hall --- that live, wind-driven sound has. For evidence: the renewed interest and subsequent pipe-organ installations (or renovations) in the big concert halls of Philly, LA, Cleveland, and Jacksonville. Mr. Curlee inaugurated that last one. Ask him!

            Bruce Beardsley, Modelane, Rochester


We welcome and encourage readers' letters for publication. Send them to: or The Mail, City Newspaper, 250 North Goodman Street, Rochester14607.

            Our guidelines: We don't publish anonymous letters --- and we ask that you include your street name and city/town/village. While we don't restrict length, letters of under 350 words have a greater chance of being published. We do edit letters for clarity and brevity. And in general we don't publish letters (or longer "op-ed" pieces) from the same writer more often than once every three months.

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